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Home Forums Location of Mount Sinai Attributes of the proposed mountains Reply To: Attributes of the proposed mountains

  • Deborah Hurn

    December 30, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    The footnote below from Beitzel’s Moody Bible Atlas is a little hard to read with its lengthy in-text references. It basically says that several mountain candidates exhibit features of the biblical Mount Sinai, but this is not sufficient ‘proof’ of identity.

    Beitzel, Barry J. The New Moody Atlas of the Bible. New Ed. Chicago, IL: Moody, 2009.

    [282 n.142] “Identifications of any particular location of Mt. Sinai based on specifics within the biblical text or alleged uniqueness of local rock formations are spurious at best. For example, it is ironic that J. Karkom (see E. Anati, “Mt. Sinai—in the Negev? Ancient Cult Center Discovered on Desert Peak,” in M. D. Meinhardt, ed., Mysteries of the Bible: From the Garden of Eden to the Shroud of Turin, [Washington D.C.: Biblical Archaeology Society, 2004], 47–69) in northern Sinai and J. el-Lawz (see A. Kerkeslager, “Mt. Sinai—in Arabia? Ancient Jewish Tradition Locates Holy Mountain,” in M. D. Meinhardt, ed., Mysteries of the Bible: From the Garden of Eden to the Shroud of Turin, [Washington, DC: Biblical Archaeology Society, 2004], 33–46) in modern Saudi Arabia are both claimed to be the “real mountain of God” precisely because of the discovery of some of the same features at both places:

    (1) a “cleft in the rock” (Ex. 33:21–23; Anati, 59; Kerkeslager, 40);

    (2) an “altar with 12 standing stones” (Ex. 24:4; Anati, 51, 58; Kerkeslager, 40);

    (3) a “cave” on the side of the mountain (Ex. 24:18; 1 Kings 19:8–13; Anati, 67–68; Kerkeslager, 40);

    (4) evidence of burned rock or ashes at the top of the mountain (Ex. 19:18; Anati, 68; Kerkeslager, 41);

    (5) large open space near the foot of the respective mountain, capable of accommodating the encamped Israelites (Anati, 54; Kerkeslager, 40); and

    (6) the presence of rock drawings or rock art near the foot of the mountain, indicating the presence of a large company of people (Anati, 52; Kerkeslager, 40).”

    To this list of expected features could be added some kind of notable rock for “the rock in Horeb” (Ex 17:6).